Chronicling the Days – Alison Piper

Welcome to QWF series ‘Chronicling the Days’, specifically for this strange uneasy time of coronavirus and pandemic, of social distancing and self isolation, of lockdown and quarantine.

In April 2020, we invited writers in Quebec to submit a story – of a single day at this time, because while we’re all living through this time, we know that we’re not all living through it in the same way. To stay connected – to know how we’re getting on. Every story valid.

Submissions have now closed for the series but we’ll be continuing to publish the pieces throughout May. Keep an eye for them here, or join us on the QWF FB Community page, and let the authors know if their words resonated.

This piece is by Alison Piper, writing in April 2020.

Photo: Alison Piper

The pink super moon rises

The pink super moon rises quickly in a golden blaze, as if in a hurry. Its white facial features come into full view as night falls. This heavenly beacon shines down on the rainbow-lit structures of pandemic Montreal. The new Champlain bridge, the Big O, office towers and the Montreal Biosphere are glowing with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Or so I imagine it. I am only watching the moon from my six-foot-wide second storey windows, because like everyone else, I am not allowed to leave my neighbourhood of NDG. Like everyone else, I am a little afraid to leave my apartment or go too far, anyway.

Some friendly lights flick on in the moonlit bedrooms of the mansion across the street. Perhaps the inhabitants also want to have a look. Or maybe they are weary and getting ready for bed.

I pull my coat on and go down the stairs and outside to take photos. My cold fingers fumble with my cell phone camera, flexing the screen wider to take a closer shot. I take several photos and check them. The moon’s beauty and grandeur prove to be elusive. Feeling dissatisfied, I give up. Now, I’ll just have to try to remember how the super moon looked. Someone else will post an impressive capture on the Internet, and I’ll have to settle for that: Defeat.

Soon, Jupiter punches a massive hole in the night sky, becoming the second brightest object. More lights come on as other planets and stars join the display. They look like they are pulsing on and off. Are they really, or is it an optical illusion?

There is no one on the street, but the lone bagpiper has come out to play again. Tonight, he’s playing Amazing Grace. It’s haunting and yet comforting somehow. I feel less alone and try to follow the sound of the bagpipes to see if I can find him. I think I am getting closer, but suddenly the sound stops. Perhaps he has gone inside. Perhaps he got cold too fast too.

I walk back to my apartment and there is still no one around. I climb the stairs and am thankful for the warmth emanating from the vintage steam radiators. At least the friendly lights are still on across the street, and the super moon and Jupiter are keeping me company. I turn the Covid-19 news back on and settle on the couch.

One thought on “Chronicling the Days – Alison Piper

  1. I love this piece! I went out in the cold too to try to capture the pink moon, but wasn’t satisfied with my photo either. You capture the pandemic so beautifully, poignantly. it’s a lonely time. But NDG radiators were – when it was cold – a saving grace. Merci Alison!

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